Special Election Held for Virginia’s 38th District

A special election was held Tuesday for the 38th District of Virginia’s Senate Seat after the former incumbent’s passing.

Mask and Scrabble letters

Photo by Glen Carrie: Republican Travis Hackworth and Democrat Laurie Buchwald, both experienced in public office, compete for the seat.

By Isabella Dominesey | Idominesey@radford.edu

Voters of the 38th District of Virginia headed to the polls Tuesday to determine who will replace Sen. Ben Chafin, who died from COVID-19 complications in January.

Republican Travis Hackworth and Democrat Laurie Buchwald, both experienced in public office, compete for the seat.

Hackworth, a local businessman, previously served on the Tazewell Board of Supervisors. His campaign is based on a “Pro-God” agenda, promoting businesses, guns, life, police, coal, family, and veterans. He was also an acquaintance of Chafin.

[epq-quote align=”align-left”]Many of Hackworth’s supporters are looking to him to continue to promote conservative values in the district.[/epq-quote]

Many of Hackworth’s supporters are looking to him to continue to promote conservative values in the district.

“I believe in what Mr. Hackworth is claiming to do for the voters and want to see him succeed,” said John Dalton Jr., voter and Hackworth Campaign volunteer.

Buchwald, a nurse practitioner, served on Radford City Counsel for two terms and previously ran for the House of Delegates 12th district. Her campaign primarily focuses on healthcare expansion and education.

Some of Buchwald’s supporters even knew her through their personal experiences in healthcare.

“She saved my life,” said voter and election official Lucinda Piro. “She heard my heart and recognized that I needed heart surgery. She genuinely cares about people.”

However, Chafin, who held the seat since 2014, still had strong support among his former voters.

“He was a good friend,” said Dalton.

Although this election wasn’t expected, the citizens who came to the polls felt a sense of responsibility to their district.

[epq-quote align=”align-right”]According to election officials, about 700 early voting ballots were sent in before Tuesday in the City of Radford.[/epq-quote]

“I vote in every election,” said Sarah Hill. “I care about local politics because I care about where I live. I also usually know the people I’m voting for.”

According to election officials, about 700 early voting ballots were sent in before Tuesday in the City of Radford.

Guy Wolford, one of the three Electoral Board members of Radford City, believes that about ten percent of the city’s population will vote total. A number he would like to see drastically grow.

“Ten percent is shameful and pitiful,” said Wolford. “Voting is a responsibility. Period.”

As of Tuesday morning, 6,339 absentee ballots were cast throughout the district for the election. The winner is expected to be announced officially by Tuesday night.

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